21 March 2013

No Day but Today

I love Rent-no secret.  However these lyrics are so appropriate right now:
"There's only now
There's only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today"
Just in general life, you have to do what you have to do, and you have to do it now.  Don't wait, don't dwell on yesterday, don't fret about the future.  Make it right today.  So this week has been all about that!
I’m the mean teacher.  My students have (all) claimed that I am becoming mean.  Or am already mean…or just a bitch.  I’m not quite sure what the final verdict is, but I feel it too.  I am stressed.  Not that life is stressful, but I think it is because I am jealous of all my friends working towards Spring Break, when mine is still so far away, ok two weeks, but still!

Two weeks ago I was so sick.  I stayed home one day with a fever and should have stayed home another day, but I hate being out two days in a row.  Then last week was my big presentation so I was working hard on that.  This week has been an amazing week.  I feel on top of my teaching, actually taking the time to plan activities again.  I had fun afternoon outings to occupy my time and put me in a good mood.  My apartment is not COMPLETELY disgusting, although it is still messy.  So with a positive atmosphere around me, today, I made the conscious effort to be happy at school-"no day but today".  I tried to be positive in all of my classes and not yell, or go off the edge when a kid asked the same question that I had already answered 5 (million) times before.  What did I get?  A great day that is leading me to blog!

My tenth graders are, by far, the smartest group I’ve ever taught.  Not saying they are individually the brightest, but as a whole, they work together to accomplish great things.  So when a couple of them mentioned that I was being snippy I thought I really should get myself in check.  Today I had a whole plan and threw it out the window when my quick little intro into the Unit Circle ended up getting so many great questions that I just went through and explained the whole thing.  They were amazing.  I said something off the cuff that tan(225)=1 and I heard clicking of calculator buttons and then “HOW DID YOU KNOW?!??”  So I showed them.  They did amazing.  We proved tanx=sinx/cosx.  This isn’t “hard” stuff, but it is very abstract.  They took notes for 40 minutes straight asking great questions.  At the end of class I thanked them for doing so well in the lesson, I felt like we learned a lot and they agreed!  Ugh, teaching moments like that will make you stay in the profession forever. 

I haven’t been mean to my IB 12 class because I never freakin’ see them.  These kids just go to whatever class they feel like it seems.  I only have a week to review with them before their mock IB’s and they are all saying they will do fine.  Literally, none of them came to class yesterday.  I don’t think they will be fine on the IB exam.  I think they will all make 3’s and 4’s (out of 7’s).  But really I cannot do anymore-if they do not show up, I cannot review with them.  Well anyways, today almost all of them were here and we were reviewing functions (some had already done part of it).  So I sat back and said “finish this worksheet” and they taught each other.  It was good teaching too.  Ok, maybe they will be ok. 

My ninth grade class is one of my trickiest classes ever.  I have students who have EXTREME (undiagnosed because you don’t do that here) ADHD.  I have students who were in higher level math but dropped because they did not want the work load.  I have students who are so sweet and a few who are extremely spiteful.  When I see this group 1st period I love them all.  I want to give each a hug and kiss and walk them through step by step.  That only happens one day out of six.  The other five days I pull my hair out, yell, scream, and hit (ok, only in my imagination, but it’s so good) all of them.  Today I thought “I’m not going to raise my voice”.  Well that was a lie.  The class is 75% boys and they dominate the atmosphere.  I’m good with boys (insert inappropriate joke here) but my poor girls suffer in this class.  Today wasn’t bad though.  They worked hard.  They got right answers.  There was definite yelling going on, but overall, it was 9th grade appropriate and they left smiling.

For my last class, I made a scavenger hunt to finish up quadrilateral properties.  This is a group of seniors who seriously just need to graduate…a long time ago.  They are done.  Done-er than done. So the fact that they all worked, the last period, on a Thursday, was phenomenal.  The math was correct too.  It was not perfect but there were no complaints from me or them.  Mission Accomplished.

I didn’t see my 11th graders today-which is the group that really hates me recently.  They are not my all time favorites right now either.  Anyone from high school remember when Ms. Corey came running into Mr. Roeber’s room and said “I’m not a lesbian and I don’t deal drugs!”?  I know why she was so mad.  It was because she “trusted” us.  Not that she gave us secret information, but she thought that we were a good enough group to not gossip, spread rumors or just basically have ill-will towards her or any other teacher. 
A couple of years ago I was going through a lot of personal life stuff and I know it reflected in the classroom.  110% I know it did. I had a class that met 90 minutes a day for a whole year (most only met for a semester).  When you spend that much time with students you have to create a bond with them.  Most I did and still share that bond with them.  However, about February, students were starting to talk and I sat on a table, stone faced, and said “I’m not a bitch. Stop calling me one behind my back.” I think we moved past that point by the end of the year, but I remember being so hurt and betrayed by that group. I'm feeling that way now with this group.

My current 11th graders are with me for the long haul. I teach them for 2 years (it is a two year course).  We have to make it work for 55 minutes a day for two years.  That is a lot of time to be studying one topic together.  This group used to be great.  Individually, I still really like them.  However, some have started lying, scheming, cheating and being rude and it is super disappointing.  I really held this group on a pedestal when we first met (wrong I know) and now I just expect the worse from them.  Yesterday we gathered data in the gym on their basketball abilities.  It was fun.  I lost, badly, but overall I had fun with them.  I think it is an important thing to remember that they are kids. I’ve heard parents say it before too…you forget how fun your kids are sometimes.  It’s not always about the rules and regulations, sometimes it is about teaching them more than that.  I still have some hurdles with my 11th graders, and some have lost their entire account in my “trust bank” (reference to the best/worst parent talk Jessalee’s Dad ever gave) but I think in the next two years we can earn it back with interest. 

So today was a good day because I set out to make it so.  So here is to more good days and weeks.  Thank  you to everyone who has suffered the past couple because of my attitude…I gave myself an attitude check…hopefully it works!

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